John Lindsey (7-13-14)

"Free Zoo"

Back to Happy and Sane

by John Lindsey

So I saw a billboard a ways back advertising this new “Free Zoo” they opened out in Sibley, Missouri. It had lots of pictures of lions and tigers and stuff. It seemed the perfect place to bring my old lady and kids. I mean, where else were we going to find a free zoo in the area?

Only... It turns out the “free” in Free Zoo had a totally different meaning than I was expecting.

As my flower of a wife Babbette and I pulled into the parking lot, something seemed just a bit... off about the place.

For one, it had this gigantic fence around the perimeter. I could tell it was electrified, because I could hear this loud him emanating from its steel cables. Also, deadly lightning bolts would frequently shoot out of said cables.

Little Billy was all like, “Cool, do they have dinosaurs in there like in the movies!?”

“No stupid,” I replied, “You're an idiot!”

If I had known that in a short time I would start losing my children, I probably would have added dummy and imbecile to the list.

But I digress... Stupid Billy. Anyway, when Babbette, Little Billy, Sally Jo, and Nameless 1 and 2 and I all got to the front entrance, we discovered that “Free Zoo” was not free at all, it was actually quite expensive.

The sales clerk mumbled something about insurance costs, and that it really was still Free Zoo. The “free” he said while winking.

“You'll see what I mean!” he said as he took all of the money we had on our collective person, as well as our credit cards and the key to our safety deposit box, for “safe keeping” as he put it, and he finished with a , “You'll get these back if you leave?”

I remember thinking that saying if you leave seemed very suspicious, but little Billy was being stupid again, and the rest of the children were basically spazzing out, so I was restless to get them all into Free Zoo.

And it really was free zoo... In that the animals were all... free. It did take us one child to realize that fact though.

“Where are all the cages?” Sally Jo asked. I ignored her like always (I don't think I'd said three words to her in her lifetime. Her short lifetime.).

I heard a strange rustling in the bushes to our left, and a cheetah swiftly leapt out of them and snatched Sally Jo up in its powerful jaws before running into some tall grass.

I remember this clearly, because the grasses were of this deep and verdant green color. There were some slightly yellow varieties for contrast, but all in all it was the kind of grass you'd really be jealous of your neighbor for having. The kind that makes you just want to take your shoes and socks off and walk through barefoot. Enjoying the coolness of its caress on a warm Spring morning when the birds serenade each other and the buffalo moan.

Perhaps a daily nap under the shade of an Oak tree, mighty and tall. Bringing the beauty and splendor of nature to your suburban homestead.

The grass was still swaying slightly from where the cheetah had leapt through with Sally Jo. I'm fairly certain there were screams from someone, but most of my attention was transfixed firmly upon the green green grasses at the time, so I cannot be certain.

“Grover, snap out of it!” my wife shouted, “Darned Cheetah got Sally Jo, we need to hunt it!”

“I never did like Susie Jo...” I had replied, and she had the nerve to correct me with, “Sally Jo.”

And then Billy started crying, saying he wanted to go home, just generally being a pain, so I gave him a good wallup with a tree branch I found lying around (near the grasses) and he calmed down a bit.

My twins Nameless 1 and 2 both smirked at this beating. Perhaps they knew he deserved it? Oh the Nameless twins... Boy and girl, I think maybe eight? Brunette, moody, quiet. Born when Babbette and I had exhausted names for our progeny, or perhaps just didn't care enough. I would actually kind of liked them if there hadn't been two of them... Always looking, acting, and talking the same. I just wanted to mush them into one person (and often tried)! But back to the transpiring (at the time) events.

Babbette turned around and tried the entrance door, but it was really fastened tight and the hum of electricity had just started from its metal frame.

I thought it best to test my theory that the door was now electrified by “nudging” Little Billy a bit, gently knocking him a scoach and causing him to smack into the door. He got quite a shock! Both from the impact and the electricity (nature's fury but man's plaything). But I still have to chuckle a bit when I remember just how high the bit o' shock made Billy's hair stand up.

“That's a good look for you Billy,” I had said and he smiled wanly.

There was no way I wasn't going through Free Zoo now that I had spent good money, the only kind of money, on it.

“So... So I guess that's the whole schtick of this place,” said Babbette, “The animals are all loose in here. They are the “free” in Free Zoo.

“Right you are!” came the voice of the zoo clerk from out of a small hole in the entrance door, “If you manage to get through every area of Free Zoo, I'll let you back out! It'll be a fun game!”

It sure would...

With that it was settled that we were free to freely explore Free Zoo!

I had a bit of a bounce in my step (I thought it was happiness, but later found it was gout) as I jaunted through the beginnings of Free Zoo, a real hitch in my giddy up (that one was kidney related).

The Nameless twins still seemed forlorn, but I swear I could see the hint of a smile at the corners of both of their mouths. Babbette and Billy however seemed much less enthused.

“There there guys,” I said, “I'm sure there are lots of delicious animals we can eat along our way!”

This seemed to lighten them all up a bit. I heard Babbette's stomach growl mightily and she licked her lips (but to be fair, she did both of these often anyway). We began to make steady progress through the zoo.

We fallowed the path and soon found that to the right of us was a vile wetlands where we came upon a sign which read “Badger Bog.” I didn't see any badgers, but a snapping turtle in the murky waters looked at Little Billy and hissed.

I laughed and said, “Not even the turtles like you Billy!”

Little Billy hung his already hanging head a little more and I chuckled again.

“I'm hungry!” screeched Babbette before pulling a soggy hotdog out of her purse. She smashed the flaccid hotdog into her mouth hole with gusto and began to sloppily munch it down.

“Give me that!” I shouted, being suddenly hungry as well, and reached for the the processed pig morsel with nearly as much gusto as Babbette's gusto filled chomping. In my zeal to attain meaty happiness I only managed to knock the hotdog remnants into the badgerless Badger Bog.

There was a plop as the hotdog entered the waters followed by a ferocious swarming of what could only have been a school of piranhas (and no doubt leeches) devouring the delicious delicacy.

“Well...” I said stifling another laugh, “I guess we know what happened to the badgers!”

Babbette burst into laughter and I heard an audible “Hah” from both of the twins (always had to be both). Little Billy even chuckled over that one. Maybe he'll be a good kid after all I had thought.

“I'm still hungry though durn it!” shouted Babbette, “That was my last blanketless pig in a blanket and I'm starved. Feed me Grover...”

“Yes yes...” I replied, “You said it best earlier. There really probably are some delicious animals to hunt and eat in these environs.”

“Look, a leopard!” shouted Little Billy enthusiastically as he finally took some initiation in life by grabbing a pointy stick and chasing something into the underbrush.

We lost him for a moment in a wooded area, I was hoping we lost him forever, but he had impaled what appeared to be a poison arrow frog on his stick and had commenced to chow down on its no doubt toxic leggies.

He burped loudly and then said, “Good leopard Dad!”

He somehow survived the toxins which filled me with mixed emotions.

My son, whom I usually thought of with only disdain, had hunted and killed his first animal. He was a man now. Well, he still hadn't made it with a woman (and I thought never would), but he didn't really have anything going for him in the looks, brains, or humor departments anyway. And he did confuse a frog for a leopard... Perhaps my emotions weren't so mixed after all, the dullard.

“I'm STILL hungry,” thundered Babbette and startling a flock of nearby goldfinches, “Little Billy gets a leopard on a stick and I end up getting the short end of it!”

Fearing my wife's wrath (and also, sort of, the potential goldfinch threat), I pacified her by saying, “Quiet your two lips my tulip, I hear something up ahead. Sounds like waves, perhaps there will be waters teaming with fishes for us to feast upon?”

“I sure hope so... for your sake.” she replied.

For a moment I knew true fear... Fortunately we came to the end of a forest to gaze upon what must have been an artificial ocean beach (Missouri being pretty close to the ocean, but not quite that close).

The waters were clearly shark infested (I could tell from all of the fins, thrashing shark teeth, and blood), and several killer whales (or orcas for the more pretentious) had already beached themselves (the dummies) trying to get at Little Billy (the dummy) who was looking very much like a frightened lost baby seal at the moment.

Babbette attempted to take a bite out of a nearby whale before saying “skin too tough” and giving up.

“There there mom,” said Nameless 1 and 2 always so eerily simultaneously, “Later we can use the sharp edges of sand dollars and coral to cut into through the thick skin and get the precious whale steaks and oil these beasts hide within.”

I shuddered. These twins already had too much of their mother in them anyway, perhaps the very reason she's the only one they'll ever talk to. In unison... Always in unison. Often on a dark night, whilst studying ancient scrolls and tomes by candlelight (something completely unrelated to the twins' synergy, it's just a hobby of mine), I've tried to fathom just how that was possible.

Did they wake up every morning and memorize exactly what they were going to say for the day? Were their thoughts and speech linked by some telepathic bond evolved to creep people out? What if in the womb their fetus heads attempted to absorb each other but felt bad and broke away, leaving two psychically linked brains behind? That's usually about the time I roll up my scrolls and take off my wizard robes for the evening. It's ok, I wear my wizard hat under my robes, so no one sees my Archimedes (that's what I call my wiggler, at least when I'm playing wizard).

But at the beach, fortunately, there was a scattering of stranded starfish in the sands, and we were all able to eat our fill in peace.

Babbette was pinched by many a lobster though. Perhaps their revenge for the hundreds of lobsters she had eaten over the past month or so at our local seafood eatery.

“S'upid lobsters,” she would say every time, mouth full of starfish, “Go pinch on L'il Billy.”

The twins had chosen instead to eat the sharks. Using the starfish, and themselves, as live bait, the twins had managed to lure one shark into a more shallow pool of sea water (getting matching, of course they matched, wounds in the process). But just as they raised matching pairs of driftwood clubs to the heavens to strike a fatal blow upon the toothy creature they looked into each other's eyes and dropped the clubs. Was it pity that they were showing the majestic but deadly sea beast? Or did they simply see a kindred spirit in its (and their own) hollow black eyes? Either way (or maybe for some completely other stupid reason), they pushed the shark back towards deeper waters where it could devour other see creatures and Free Zoo patrons at its leisure.

This gave me an idea.

“Little Billy!” I said, “Why don't you go swim yonder with those sharks. Rustle us up some oysters so we can get the precious pearls inside.”

He just hung his head and waddled towards the sharks when suddenly something inside me made me stop him.

“Wait dummy!” I said, “You know those sharks would just gobble you up. They'd just gobble you up...”

“But, you told me to Daddy, and I would never disobey your orders...”

“But they'd just gobble you up!” I said feeling small feelings for possibly the first time in my life.

“But Daddy said to...”

“Shhh!” I replied while shoving my finger into his face, “Be less stupid... Junior.”

And then, for the first time in Little Billy's life, he held his head high. And for the first time I noticed... He looks a lot like me. Pudgy, balding (yes, even at his age he already was, probably should have mentioned that sooner), a Man. And for the first time I began to realize that all of the hate and anger I had towards myself I had been taking out on Bill instead of facing it like a man.

“I want desert!” yelped Babbette before belching loudly, breaking me from my reverie, “Bah... sassy gasy starfish.”

“Quiet Babbette! I was bonding with our son.”

A myriad of conflicting emotions swept across her face.

I saw the fires of rage in those eyes. A rage I knew I'd never survive if pushed further. Then their was sadness, probably disappointment that there was no desert yet. Then, at last, something resembling happy... an emotion she never experienced when not eating something.

As it turns out, and to my biggest surprise, she was eating happiness!

“Grover... You were bonding with one of our spawnchilds... for the first time ever! I'm so proud of you!”

“Don't look too much into it,” I replied, “Now let's finish up these starfish for desert and go.”

After every starfish on the beach had been eaten, and mostly by Babbette, it was time to journey onwards.

We gambled on trying another small forest path which lead to a small river which eventually lead to yet another cesspool of sorts which had a bunch of sticks and mud damming it off from the river.

Normally I'd say Little Billy was being a real stick in the mud too, but this new Bill was leading the way. Followed by the Nameless twins, followed by Babbette who once again again had that look in her eye (probably hungry).

The kind of look that put more fear into my heart than the fear of all of the vicious animals of Free Zoo put together and also wielding guns and nunchucks and the like.

I didn't know if she'd devour me before whatever horrible creature we were sure to meet next.

Suddenly, Bill was blitzkrieged by a brigade of brown beavers!

“Let us make battle!” he screamed, but I had already been distracted by something more pressing.

To my right I espied a big bunch of butterflies. Blindingly blue, and bafflingly beautiful.

Although my family, some of which I was really starting to care about, was engaged in battle, I had to engage in... the dance!

“I'm a butterfly, I'm a beautiful butterfly!” I had shouted. Spinning in circles and waving my arms around.

One of the happiest moments of my life... and also most devastating.

During the magic of the dance, I caught glimpses of the fun my family was having with the beavers.

Two large elm trees, mighty in their majesty, both with trunk bases gnawed near to the nub fell with a crash on the Nameless twins, pinning them to the ground where they were being badly bludgeoned by a bad beaver's tail.

Poor Bill appeared to have been grabbed by the leg by many a beaver and was slowly being dragged towards the cesspool, no doubt to be taken under the dam and drowned.

But my fondness, my finesse, focused on the flight of the fluttering flutterbys.

My bliss was short lived.

I felt a strong, but familiar shove and fell to the earth. Babbette stood above me and shouted, “Grover your babies are being beaten right and left and I find you dancing?”

“My babies, you mean these flutterbys?” I had replied, not knowing the macabre horror that would follow.

“These ain't babies! These food!” she shouted before gulping down each... blue... beautiful... butterfly.

I was devastated, still am to this day.

“Our kiddos yet live Grover... We need them to pass down our legacy! To make our mark on this planet!”

It was one of her better speeches, and with no butterfly distraction I was free to survey the battlefield. Two beavers were relentlessly tail swatting the helpless twins and the mix of beavers pulling at Bill had managed to just pull him into the water where I knew their beaver tails would be much better at swimming than Bill's sausage fingers would.

“Babbette, you save the twins, I'll save the man!”

Babbette ran towards the felled elms, and I towards Bill. I got to him just as they pulled him under and clasped his hand. I pulled with a strength superhuman to me. I thought for sure all that I'd pull out was the nub of Bill's lifeless hand, but instead Bill emerged form the cesspool and grabbed the pool's bank. With our combined strength Bill reached dry land entirely, and we were able to kick the beavers' death grips off one at a time.

And then it was over...

With all of the beavers either dead or in a full retreat to the safety of their dam, Bill and I rejoined the rest of our family only to find Babbette hunched over the fading bodies of the Nameless twins.

“No no my darlings, you can still make it! I'll just gnaw on these pine trees like the beavers did until I can get you both out!”

“Alas Mother it is not to be, but thank you for trying, and for always being there for us,” said Nameless 2.

“Yes Mother, in a world cold and unforgiving you've always shown us that its worth living in. Even if it's just to get to the next meal,” said Nameless 1.

“My babies, my babies...” whimpered Babbette.

I was astounded. The Nameless twins talking out of synch and of their own accord. How could this be?

“Nameless 1 Nameless 2, so finally now in death you finally have your own free wills and voices?”

And then in answer they both replied in unison “No it's because...” and then both perished with long drawn out sighs that ended abruptly at the same time.

And that's when Babbette suddenly and quicker even than I'd seen her move towards food turned to face me with that gaze of severity and loathing.

“This is on you... If you would have shown any interest whatsoever in any of your children instead of being distracted by whatever random thing you get distracted by every single day, they'd all still be here,” said Babbette more eloquently than I've ever heard her speak before.

“She's right...” chimed in Bill, “How many more people do you have to lose in your life before you see it?”

Bill then turned away from me and continued along the path. Babbette followed, leaving me with my thoughts, also the dead carcases of my twins.

As I gazed upon them sadly, and thought of ways and rituals to bring them back, I noticed for the first time that they looked a lot like Babbette when she was young and full of life. Before all the buffets. And they weren't identical twins at all they had their similarities, but they shared many differences as well. One was missing an eye (that might have been the beavers), one wasn't. One had a face that looked a lot more swollen and puffy than the other's. Again, that could have been the beavers, but what I mean is that I should have respected them as the individuals they were... Maybe then they'd still be here, and not festering near a bog in Free Zoo.

Before I left that battlefield. I named them finally. They had finally won my respect and love and it was my duty to leave them with their identity. It was the only way I could let them go and move on with my life.

“Nameless 1... I love you, One Eye... Nameless 2... cherished one, I will never forget you, Puffyface. Nameless no more, be at peace in Valhalla.”

I then curtsied and turned to follow my family. I caught up to them and followed in their stead.

Soon we began to hear fevered footsteps in the near distance.

“Wait!” I whispered loudly while pulling Bill behind the mass that is Babbette (the safest place).

The footsteps footstepped closer and I positioned myself in front of Babbette and entered my fighting stance (desert lizard).

Suddenly a man came running around the corner of the path, screamed, and then flung his arms into the air.

I have this effect on people when they see my desert lizard.

“Oh, you're just a man,” the new man said, “I was so afraid I had turned a corner just to be devoured by a desert lizard.”

“Don't you call my husband no desert lizard,” Babbette said (protectively for once), “He is man!”

“I see that, and a fine specimen. I'm just so relieved to see other people at Free Zoo! Perhaps now we can escape and see the animals! Strength in numbers.”

“I know I will escape! I no longer care of the animals” I said, “What's back the way you came, is there no exit yonder?”

“No, well yes, sort of. It's a back entrance. At least according to the map of Free Zoo I picked up at the free Free Zoo map kiosk.”

“Gimme!” I said while taking the map, “I am the navigator here.”

“But really follow the map, don't go where your whim takes you, My... My entire family was devoured by vicious , but adorable, creatures because I can't stop wandering around enjoying all the animals,” he said.

A single tear fell down his ugly face, but I couldn't tell if it was sadness at the loss of his family, or happiness at the prospect of seeing more animals.

“You lost your... legacy?” said Babbette, clearly moved.

“Yes, those guys!” he replied.

“What... what happened, and who are you even?”

“I'm John. Lindsey, my wife, and our troop of tireless tykes have had every flavor of tragedy you can imagine.”

“Even starfish?” asked Babbette.

“Well no, but first we lost Sassafras...”


“She was... stuffed upside down, by a kangaroo into its pouch, and suffocated... Then there was the projectile gorilla feces. That finished my eldest Steve.”

“What a horrible way to die!”

“It is, quit interrupting. The list of deaths... Is extensive. My wife is very virile, and I never took any sex education classes in school, so I really don't know how birth control works. Let's see... Ellie was eaten by eagles, Scott died surrounded by scorpions, Damien... drowned by dapper ducks. And then there was Thomas, who was tortured then trampled by traveling tortoises. Barry was bitten by batty baby bats, Flapjack was feasted upon by feisty foxes...”

“Stop, stop!” I intervened, “This has to be made up, or is at least too lengthy for me to bother listening to! Please stop.”

“I'm almost done, don't be hatin,'”was his remark before he continued with, “Marvin was murdered by meerkats, Penelope was pasted with putrid penguin puss, Harry was hooved by hairy horses, and worst of all, Rihanna was ravaged by raging rhinos... Oh wait, I almost forgot about our youngest Willy who was...”

He seemed like he would go on forever. I found his story tiresome and boring. The wordplay and alliteration... Was it necessary? Couldn't he have just listed the dead, or kept it to himself, and let us get on with our journey? How hard could it be to just say, “There were many deaths?”

I finally had to cut him off.

“Yes yes, poor you!” I scolded, “Always have to put the blame on someone else don't you? It's always, 'precious peacocks did this' or 'wild wildebeests did that.' Where is your personal responsibility?”

He considered this for a moment and then said, “You know what, you're right. I was the one that was so adamant about seeing all of Free Zoo. My family was ready to leave after the first death, but oh no, I had to look at the llamas and ogle at the ostriches. My family, or some of it, would still be with me if I had just turned around and went back through that entrance...”

“What?” said Babbette before continuing with real hope in her voice, “The entrance is open? No electrified door? No annoying door man?”

“Nope, just a pay gate that wouldn't open until I dumped all of my money and belongings into it. They must really be under staffed here. No surprise with all the loose dangerous animals.”

“Hey guys I'm bored, let's get out of here!” said Bill, who I had almost thought didn't exist anymore, not having heard from him in some time.

“My boys right, let's look at the map Grover!” said Babbette.

Upon inspection of the map, I learned that the quickest way to the rear exit was just over “Rickety Old Bridge of Splintery Death.” Which coincidentally was very near.

“Yep...” I said, “All we have to do is skip by Lemur Landing up here on the left, cross one rickety death bridge, and then we're home free!”

Suddenly our newest, and strangest, friend John leaned in close to me with a mad but lustful look in his eye and said, “Lemur Landing you say? I've always... I've always wanted to lick a lemur. Something about the texture of the fur. I imagine it must taste something like life foraging for sustenance. Like our roots man, let's all go lick the lemurs!”

That... revelation got weird looks out of every remaining member of my family. Even Babbette looked a little weary of trusting in the sanity of our new comrade. Even though she was probably secretly desirous of eating the aforementioned lemurs.

“Well...” I replied, “You go and do that and... My family and I are gonna go walk across this rickety looking bridge I now see up ahead. Ok?”

“Great!” shouted John before sticking out his tongue, “Lemurs here I come!”

“What an odd fellow,” I said, and with that we continued towards the bridge.

It was nearing twilight. That magical hour where one gets lost in one's own brooding and demons are said to gallivant willy-nilly between the ethereal and corporeal planes. Where chipmunk whimper and and the buffalo moan.

The bridge,of the roped variety and missing many planks, was perched precariously above a river teeming with many of what appeared to be vicious crocodiles, but could have just as easily been American alligators, camen, or maybe just really big iguanas. It was impossible to tell from that height. In any event they were bad news.

We began to timidly cross the bridge, neither Bill or I daring to get too close to Babbette due to her immense weight on the brittle boards.

When we reached the half way point of the bridge, Babbette shouted, “I'm hungry!” and then proceeded to start gnawing on the nearest bridge rope.

“No my love!” I shouted “We are almost home free and you have egg salad in the car!”

“Eggy weggies?” she asked, ridiculously.

“The very same,” I replied, humoring her.

We were nearing the end of the bridge now, with nary a casualty, when I heard a pancreas piercing scream from behind us, coming from the direction of Lemur Landing.

What I saw chilled me to the nose. It was that fool John, all covered in rabid (no doubt) lemurs, running towards us followed by a legion of lemurs! I turned to run, but just as I did it became full on raging twilight. A flock of fantastic fireflies flitted about my face and I nearly fainted with fascination.

I began to sing, some song I've forgotten the words to now, and the fireflies joined me in the majesty of dance.

John and the legion of lemurs neared.

“Snap out of it Dad!” screamed Billy, suddenly vocal, “Mom, eat those fireflies!”

“Already on it!” said Babbette before gulping down the closest glowing morsels.

At once I snapped out of my daze and said, “Bill! Help me pull up the bridge boards as we cross. Babbette, eat any lemur stupid enough to leap across the gap!”

We were so very close to the far side of the bridge and Bill and I had pulled many a board when John got the bridge and bounded across it towards us. When he got to the gap we created he took a tremendous leap... that wasn't quite tremendous enough. He fell a good ten feet short of the other side and plummeted towards the crocodile (or whatever they were) infested waters.

His last words, fading as he fell were, “I died doing what I looooooooooved!”

One lemur, let's call him Rudiger, was able to make the giant leap across the gap, and was subsequently eaten by Babbette. The others turned away, happy to at least have killed one person.

And then there it was just past the bridge and over a cobblestone path, the rear exit.

And then there he was blocking the way. That sales clerk from the front entrance who immediately started to “slow clap” before saying, “Very good, very good. You've managed to survive Free Zoo with surprisingly, and unfortunately, few casualties.”

“Great,” I said, “Now let us pass through good sir.”

“Nopes,” he replied, “I said you have to survive every area of Free Zoo. You all skipped the Eagle Eerie, Scorpion Sands, and quite a few others. Go do those, I'll wait here.”

“Nopes!” replied Bill mockingly as he sprinted around the clerk and out the exit.

“Nopes too!” I shouted following Bill out the exit.

Babbette said, “Outta my way, I've got an egg salad to eat.”

She knocked the clerk to the side with the force of her conviction and sprinted (well it was sprinting to her) towards us. Unfortunately for her, it seemed that all of the animals eaten at Free Zoo had made my poor wife too corpulent to fit out the exit.

“Grover!” she shouted, “Take care of our son, our legacy!”

“I will... baby cakes, I will...” I replied before leaning in to kiss her, thinking better of it, and then patting her on the head.

“Quick, press that button with the door and lightning symbol on it, I'm a trap the Free Zoo clerk in here with me.”

“Very well hashbrown,” I replied, “I'll come back for you.”

I never did, but I did push that button which did indeed trap Babbette and the zoo clerk to their fate amidst the beasts.

I was sad for a few heartbeats before I turned to Bill and said, “Now let's go home son.”

“Hey Dad?” he replied

“Yes son?”

“Do you think we'll ever see Mom again?”

“Perhaps... in the distant future there will be one who can truly conquer Free Zoo and rid the world of its evil. But today is not that day.”

“And Dad?”

“Yes Bill?”

“You realize we have to walk all the way around the Free Zoo fence to get back to our car don't you?”

“Ahh Bill, clever and insightful as always. You sure you don't want to go back through it? It might be faster.”

“Hah!” he replied, “Not even if my own Mom's life depended on it!”

“That's a sport,” I replied and we walked to the ATV the zoo clerk must have used to get around the park from the front to the back of Free Zoo and drove to our car where we split Babbette's very warm egg salad.

It's been many years since our adventures in Free Zoo. I did good by my son Bill and he's already started legacies with many other women, producing me many grandchildren. What a legacy! Babbette would be proud...

I still wonder about Babbette sometimes. When I'm pondering my thoughts over a good BM or just eating some really old egg salad questioning the complexities of the universe.


Wait, did my doorbell just ring? What is that a totally hot and thin woman standing at the door?! Let's open it and see...

As I open the door I see a totally hot and thin... Babbette? Standing there with a smile.

“I did it Grover... I conquered Free Zoo,” she just said.

I pause a moment and then reply, “How?!”

“I ate all the animals... Then lost a lot of weight due to lack of animal food sources, then ate the zoo clerk who was named Nicholas. After that, I simply walked out a side exit I found still opened and hurried here.”

“Alas,” I finished, “Life is truly beautiful.”

As Babbatte and I embrace for the first time in ages, a song plays from somewhere:

Someday across the trees an albatross will fly

Away-ay from Babbette and Free-ee Zoo-oo

And teardrops of happiness

That fall from angels' ears

Will harken a new tomorrow

Resounding through Heaven's pit

And dinosaurs will be there

A twinkling in the paladin's eye

Maybe a few snails

And happy smiles

Become that new tomorrow

Eating a rainbow's dream

Now ends a shining saga

Babbette just ate a frog-a

We dance and laugh

On the moon of memories

Blanketed in moonbeams

On Jupiter

Puppies and kitties will play

To the tune of this song

They'll chirp of love

Lost pancakes on the horizon

And bright happy fun times

In Russia

Babbette and Grover's years are waning

Bill's too but no complaining

Years of cherished memories were memorized

Sparkles of sparklies shining

Babbette is slowly dying

The end the end the end

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